125 million people
  • what type it is
  • the severity of the flare-up
  • the color of your skin
  • what psoriasis looks like on darker skin
  • how this condition is diagnosed
  • treatment options for psoriasis flare-ups
  • Plaque psoriasis. This is the most common type of psoriasis, accounting for over 80 percent of psoriasis cases. This type of psoriasis causes red or purplish patches with silvery-white or gray scales. It commonly affects the “exposed” areas of the skin, such as the knees and elbows, as well as the scalp.
  • Inverse psoriasis. As opposed to plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis commonly appears in the folds of skin, such as the armpits, groin, or under the breasts. These patches can also appear as red or purple, but do not contain any scales.
  • Guttate psoriasis. This type of psoriasis affects roughly 8 percent of people with the condition and commonly appears during childhood. This type appears as small, circular spots on the limbs and torso.
  • Pustular psoriasis. This type of psoriasis affects the hands, feet, or other surfaces of the skin and appears as red skin with white pustules. These pustules appear in cycles after the skin has reddened and can sometimes form scales, like in plaque psoriasis.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis. This is a rare and serious form of psoriasis that’s widespread and resembles plaque psoriasis, with red or purple skin and silvery scales. This type of psoriasis flare-up requires immediate medical attention.
  • dry, cracked skin
  • burning, itching, or soreness of the patches
  • thick nails that appear pitted
  • joint swelling and pain
  • Fungal skin infections. Fungal skin infections occur when fungi multiply on the skin or find their way in through an open lesion. These infections usually appear as itchy, scaly rashes.
  • Lichen planus. Lichen planus is a skin rash that often appears in conjunction with other autoimmune conditions. It can present in multiple ways, such as purplish skin bumps or white lesions on the mouth.
  • Cutaneous lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune condition that causes system-wide inflammation. Cutaneous lupus affects roughly two-thirds of people with lupus and is characterized by rashes on exposed skin areas.
  • Eczema. Eczema appears as red, inflamed, peeling, cracked, blistered, or pus-filled on light skin. But on darker skin, the redness may be difficult to see but will look darker brown, purple, or ashen gray. Generally, there are no scales.

As a person of color, if you’re concerned that you may have psoriasis, it’s important to make sure that your concerns are being heard.

Advocating for yourself based on your symptoms can ensure a proper diagnosis and timely treatment.

  • A physical exam is the quickest and most effective way for a doctor to diagnose psoriasis. They’ll look for the signature psoriasis patches and scaling that’s common in plaque psoriasis.
  • A scalp check can also be performed on people with darker skin, as scalp psoriasis is common in people of color. Narrowing down the location of the flare-ups is also important for treatment.
  • A skin biopsy may be performed if your doctor feels like they need more confirmation for a diagnosis. During a biopsy, a small amount of skin will be removed and sent to the lab for testing. Your doctor can then confirm whether the condition is psoriasis or something else.

Topical treatments

  • help keep the skin moisturized
  • soothe itching and burning
  • reduce inflammation
  • moisturizers
  • steroids
  • retinoids
  • anti-inflammatories
less frequently

Oral treatments

severe psoriasis

UV therapy

Lifestyle changes

certain triggers
  • stress
  • injury
  • alcohol
  • certain foods
  • medications
  • other infections